Tuesday, June 27, 2023

House Democratic Leadership Blocks Environmental Committee Action On Bills Increasing Safety Zones Around Natural Gas Facilities, Cryptocurrency Permit Moratorium

On June 27, Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Majority Chair of the
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, announced to the Committee--  “Five minutes ago I was called by my [Democratic] leadership and asked to not run these bills” to increase safety zones around natural gas facilities and enacting a cryptocurrency permit moratorium.

“I am deeply disappointed by this decision, but I’m going to comply with the wishes of my leadership and not run these bills,” said Rep. Vitali.

“That’s all the business I have.  Marty [Rep. Causer], do you have any thoughts?” said Rep. Vitali.

Minority Chair Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron) responded, “Well, I have a lot of thoughts [audience laughter], but I will keep it brief and say I’m glad we’re not considering these bills.”

“Great, with that, this meeting is adjourned,” said Rep. Vitali.

The Committee was scheduled to consider--

-- Increasing Gas Facility Setbacks: House Bill 170 (Otten-D-Chester) establishing 2,500 foot setbacks from natural gas compressor stations, well pads, pits, storage tanks, wastewater, chemicals, condensate and other waste as recommended in Attorney General Shapiro’s Grand Jury Report (sponsor summary); and

-- Cryptocurrency Air Permits: House Bill 1476 (Vitali-D-Delaware) establishing a 2-year moratorium on issuing air quality permits to cryptocurrency data mining facilities (sponsor summary).

Rep. Vitali’s related bill-- House Bill 1282 exempting cryptocurrency data mining facilities from the state tax credit for data centers (sponsor summary)- was reported out of this Committee June 6 and is now in the House Rules Committee.

Natural Gas Safety Zones

There have been multiple studies by academic institutions on the health and environmental impacts of conventional and unconventional shale gas development in Pennsylvania released since fracking began in Pennsylvania in 1963.  Read more here.

The Environmental Health Project has made recommendations for increasing setback safety zones for 10 years based on health studies.  Read more hereRead more here.

There have been state Senate hearings on health studies.  Read more here.

There is an annual conference by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the PA League of Women Voters reviewing the latest health studies.  Read more here.

The Physicians for Social Responsibility release a Compendium of Scientific and Medical Studies On Risk, Harms of Fracking and Oil and Gas Infrastructure periodically.  The 2022 Compendium had a collection of 2,000 abstracts.  Read more here.]

Click Here for a video of the meeting.

Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to: gvitali@pahouse.net. Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5075 or by sending email to: mcauser@pahousegop.com.


-- Capital & Main - Audrey Carleton: Who Is Blocking Climate, Oil & Gas Bills In Pennsylvania?

-- WTAE: Washington County Homeowner Takes On Gas Drilling Companies In Court 

-- KDKA: Washington County Family Takes 2 Gas Companies To Court Over Fracking Health Concerns 

-- Children’s Health Defense News: Washington County Family Sickened By PFAS Chemicals Used In Chevron’s Shale Gas Fracking Wells, Lawsuit Alleges

-- TribLive: Grant Twp., Indiana County Community’s Fight To Stop An Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well

-- TribLive: Murrysville, Plum Officials Deal With Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well Issues In Allegheny County 

-- WTAE: 6 Leaking Abandoned Conventional Wells In Hanover Twp., Washington County Contaminated Water Supply, Releasing Natural Gas In And Next To Hillman State Park  

Reference Links:

-- 3 Days That Shook Washington County: Natural Gas Plant Explosion; Pipeline Leak Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas; 10,000 Gallon Spill At Compressor Station  [PaEN]

-- Guest Essay: Counties, PEMA Need To Include A Complete Vulnerability Assessment Of All Natural Gas Facilities In State, County Hazard Mitigation Emergency Plans - By Cat (Cathy) Lodge, Washington County Resident  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: Setback Distances And The Regulations We Need To Protect Public Health From Oil & Gas Facilities  [8.8.22]

-- Feature: 60 Years Of Fracking, 20 Years Of Shale Gas: Pennsylvania’s Oil & Gas Industrial Infrastructure Is Hiding In Plain Sight [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project: PA’s Natural Gas Boom - What Went Wrong? Why Does It Matter?  What Can We Do Better To Protect Public Health?  [PaEN]

-- Senate Hearing: Body Of Evidence Is 'Large, Growing,’ ‘Consistent’ And 'Compelling' That Shale Gas Development Is Having A Negative Impact On Public Health; PA Must Act  [PaEN]

-- Presentations Now Available From Shale Gas & Public Health Conference In Nov. Hosted By PA League Of Women Voters & University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health   [PaEN]

-- Yale School Of Public Health Study Found PA Children 2 To 3 Times More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Leukemia If They Live Near Unconventional Shale Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

-- Study: Industry Data Shows Hazardous Air Pollutants Are ‘Ubiquitous’ In The Natural Gas Transmission System; More Justification For Robust Leak Prevention Programs   [PaEN]

-- Penn State Study: Potential Pollution Caused By Road Dumping Conventional Oil & Gas Wastewater Makes It Unsuitable For A Dust Suppressant, Washes Right Off The Road Into The Ditch  [PaEN]

-- Washington County Family Lawsuit Alleges Shale Gas Company Violated The Terms Of Their Lease By Endangering Their Health, Contaminating Their Water Supply And Not Protecting Their Land    [PaEN]

-- Oil & Gas Industry Impacts: Navy Veterans Patrick & Helen Robinson Relate Their 7-Year Struggle Dealing With Impacts Of Mariner East Pipeline Construction In Indiana County, And They Continue   [PaEN]

-- Oil & Gas Industry Impacts: Cambria County Family Sues Sunoco After 3 Years Of Dealing With Damage To Home, Well, Septic System, Property From Mariner East Pipeline Construction    [PaEN]

-- U.S. Senate Hearing: Energy, Environmental Impacts Of Cryptocurrency Mining In Pennsylvania   [PaEN]

-- Testimony On Cryptocurrency Facility from PennFuture At May 1 PA House Environmental Committee Hearing

PA Oil & Gas Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 24 to 30 - Radiation Levels Prompt Shale Gas Wastewater Tank Decontamination; Replugging Conventional, Shale Gas Wells  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment -  July 1   [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posts 57 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In July 1 PA Bulletin  [PaEN] 


-- Children’s Health Defense News: For Decades He Railed Against Fracking In Washington County - Now His Wife Has A Type Of Cancer Linked To Fracking Chemicals

-- Capital & Main - Audrey Carleton: Who Is Blocking Climate, Oil & Gas Bills In Pennsylvania? 

-- TribLive: Concerns Over Proposed Invenergy Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant In Elizabeth Township To Be Aired Tuesday, June 27 

-- TribLive: Opposition Continues On Proposed Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant On Yough River

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: PA’s Natural Gas Act 13 Impact Fee Boom Year May Go Bust Next Year

-- Observer-Reporter Letter: Act 13 Drilling Impact Fees Don’t Help Those Impacted By Gas Drilling - By Cathy Lodge, Washington County 

-- Observer-Reporter Letter: The Definition Of Insanity - Have Qualified Stewards Of Our Health, Environment, Learning, Play Spend Washington County’s $9 Million In Act 13 Impact Fee Money

-- Natural Gas Intelligence: Federal Court Voids Chesapeake Energy Settlement In PA Natural Gas Royalty Dispute

-- Vermont State Police: Joint Investigation Into June 1 Natural Gas Tanker Fire Finds Truck Was Destroyed And Damaged U.S. Route 7 In Ferrisburgh Was The Result Of Mechanical Failure

-- Wall Street Journal: Cheaper Natural Gas Prices In Store This Summer; Earlier Price Spikes Driven By Europe’s LNG Imports

Related Articles This Week:

-- Senate Overwhelmingly Confirms Richard Negrin As Secretary Of DEP  [PaEN]

-- House Democratic Leadership Blocks Environmental Committee Action On Bills Increasing Safety Zones Around Natural Gas Facilities, Cryptocurrency Permit Moratorium  [PaEN] 

-- Environmental Quality Board Meets July 11 To Consider Changes To Water Quality Standards; DEP Reports Law Limiting Its Authority To Change Conventional Oil & Gas Well Bonding May Be Unconstitutional [PaEN]

-- DEP Citizens Advisory Council Meets July 11 On Programs To Promote Use Of Electric Vehicles; Chapter 105 Environmental Assessment Alternatives Analysis  [PaEN]

-- Independent Fiscal Office Projects 2023 Act 13 Shale Gas Drilling Impact Fee Revenue At $180 to $184 Million, A Drop Of $94 Million From 2022 Revenue  [PaEN] 

-- Pennsylvania Groups Call For Transparency With State Plans For Carbon Capture, Storage  [PaEN]

[Posted: June 27, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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